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The Origins of 11 Big Box Stores

If you went to the Black Friday sales last night (or early this morning, depending on the store) you may be sick of the retail experience right now, but you can sit down, relax, have a nice drink, and read about how your favorite and not-so-favorite stores got started. Considering that most started out small and spread across the country, a store could be a pretty big deal before you ever got a chance to hear about it, much less shop there. For example, the business that became Toys "R" Us started back in 1948!
In 1948, 25-year-old World War II veteran Charles Lazarus began selling baby furniture in his father’s bike shop in Washington, DC. Recognizing the demand for children’s toys, Lazarus soon broadened his inventory and renamed the store Children’s Supermart. He opened Baby Furniture & Toy Supermarket in 1952, using backwards R’s in the sign to grab attention. Five years later, he opened Children’s Bargaintown, which became the first Toys “R” Us, in nearby Rockville, Md. The store’s giraffe mascot, Dr. G. Raffe, was renamed Geoffrey shortly before Lazarus sold Toys “R” Us to Interstate Stores in 1966.

Mental_ floss has the lowdown on this and ten other big box stores. Link

(Image by Flickr user dcmaster)

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